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Quartz Reef Wine Journey

Quartz Reef founder Rudi Bauer first identified the winery’s Bendigo site in 1990 and after significant research the first vines were planted in December 1998. He spoke to QT Magazine about the journey in creating one of Central Otago’s best known Pinot Noir labels.

How did it all start? The vision for the Bendigo site was to plant in a completely unknown new sub-region. My principal attitude was to take all my experience gained from around the world including Austria, Germany, California, Oregon, France, Hawkes Bay, Marlborough, Canterbury and Central Otago and to translate this to the conditions of the Bendigo site.

Organic and biodynamic farming philosophically started at the same time but due to the challenge of the difficult conditions of this new land I didn’t have the confidence to make the conversion on my own. Fortunately by 2007 with the input of Sam Jary and Grant Rolston the decision was made to fully convert the whole vineyard into biodynamics with certification completed in 2011.

Why is Pinot Noir so important to Central Otago? I consider my principle responsibility is to reproduce our Bendigo vineyard in the glass as an authentic reflection of the site. This philosophy is shared by quality Pinot Noir producers in Central Otago and this makes the Central Otago proposition very attractive due to its versatility. We offer a Pinot Noir smorgasbord as there are so many geological and climatic geographical differences unique to our region.

What is so distinctive about Quartz Reef Pinot Noir? The strength of Bendigo Pinot Noir sits in the structure of the wine, meaning the ripe presence of tannins which is a key factor of longevity for the wines. The tannins are now achieving more finesse and elegance through the age of the vines along with constantly improving canopy management and soil vitality combined with the secret Rudi factor.

We have three expressions of our pioneer Bendigo vineyard site including our signature wine Quartz Reef Pinot Noir 2021, Quartz Reef Single Ferment Pinot Noir 2020 which is a selected ferment reflecting the season and vineyard and the Quartz Reef Royal Series Billie Jean 2019 – 500 bottles of pure Bendigo expression and a significant collectable.

What is stand out about the Quartz Reef Royal Series Billie Jean Pinot Noir? Royal Series Billie Jean Pinot Noir was borne out of our desire to understand and learn more from a pioneer site with no prior growing history. We kept each of the vineyard blocks separate as individual ferments to develop an understanding of how rootstock, clone and various soil types was reflected. After 12 consecutive vintages from Block 12 we saw that this wine consistently expressed a different authenticity within our pioneer vineyard and we bottled it separately with the first release in 2015 of Royal Series Fran Ferdinand Pinot Noir.

Quartz Reef wines are available at selected retailers and online at www.quartzreef.co.nz